NASCAR has had a real “Feel Good” start to the year so far with Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 and Jeff Gordon finally breaking a 66 race drought of winning and taking his 83rd win since breaking into Cup 19 years ago. From this fan’s view, the year is off to a very good start and many fans seem to agree. In fact, it is just a bit unusual for so little whining to be going on with all the changes that have been made. (Oh yeah, that’s right… it’s only week 2 of the season. I guess we should give it more time, huh?)
I have to admit, I am a little embarrassed because, well, the Fords didn’t do as well as I expected they would this last weekend in Phoenix and I am surprised about that. A quick look at the finishing order shows the top ten had one Ford and that was A.J. Allmendinger of Richard Petty Motorsports, (I really expected the Roush Fords to be the ones we would be talking about the most after PIR, but, it just goes to show, in NASCAR racing, you just never know until they run the race.) Some would say the Roush cars would probably have been more visible and nearer the front at the end of the race if it hadn’t been for those darn accidents (and they do have a pretty good point.) It is my opinion however, although they were strong, I’m not so sure they were as strong as it appeared at the beginning of the weekend.
In the top seven there were five Chevys and two Toyotas and that is worth taking note of. Of course, some of the finishing order was definitely altered by the “Big One” that took out a bunch of cars early, but I can’t say that had lot to do with the finishing order; that is, unless we consider the Ford of Carl Edwards. He had a very fast car and I guess we will never know how things might have gone between him, Jeff Gordon and Kyle Bush at, or near, the end of the race, although I sure do wish we could. Two of the three of them were the best on the track for most of the day, and I do think Carl Edwards being in contention at the end would have made it even more interesting.
Why anyone would want to complain about the racing so far this year is beyond me. Admittedly, I have heard a few grumblings, but for the most part, most fans are either happy with what’s happened in the races or they are just taking a wait and see attitude at least for the first several races, anyway.
Even the Dale Jr fans are feeling pretty positive and looking for good things to come his way in the near future (and I can’t say I disagree.) He and Steve Letarte seem to be making head way, communicating well and Jr seems more comfortable with Letarte than he has in the last several years with his other crew chiefs.
Phoenix was another proving ground for the points system and how the change NASCAR made to it is going affect the way the points line up over the season. It could make a drastic difference in the way things pan out if some of the favorites from last year keep on having bad luck and poor finishes. It is definitely different and, to this fan, it looks as if once you get behind it is much harder to catch back up, (but then, we’ve only had those two weeks of racing so far. One thing usually proves to be true tho; the cream will usually rise to the top if given half a chance.
One thing was very clear to this fan this weekend in Phoenix… as bad a week as the Hendrick teams had a Daytona, Phoenix was just as much the opposite for them. The Roush teams struggled (and the fault wasn’t necessarily theirs’.) Carl Edwards was caught up in a mishap with Kyle Bush and it ruined his day. Jeff Gordon was caught up in the same but escaped with little damage and continued, as did Kyle Bush. When something like that happens between the one that was favored to win and the the ones that finished first and second just shows another example of that thing called “racing luck.” (It is a very real thing and it has to go in your favor for you to do well.)
The hope is the Childress teams will have a turnaround week at Vegas the way the Hendrick teams did at Phoenix. From this fan’s view, it doesn’t appear a whole lot more can go wrong for them, so maybe this coming weekend will be a week they gain a few spots back in the points… or… maybe not.
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© March 04, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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